Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 





Know When to Hold ‘Em, When to Fold ‘Em
Monday, 15 January 2007 23:15
by Andrew Bard Schmookler
As time goes along, I find that there’s more than one interpretation of the Bushites’ latest Iraq gambit that seems worth considering. But this piece addresses one of the most plausible of those interpretations.
Tell me please: why is it that, in America, a course of action that is regarded as folly in virtually every other comparable endeavor is seen as virtue and wisdom in war?

In poker, do we call a man a “defeatist” who, when he sees he’s got a losing hand, folds rather than increasing his bet? No, we recognize that every good poker player knows better than to “throw good money after bad.”

In games of strategy like Chess and Go, what do we call a player who ignores the signs that a part of the board is already escaping his capacity to control and instead continues to invest his moves in that lost territory? Soon enough, what we call him is the “loser” in the game.

In business, what do we call an executive who continues to bank his fortunes on a losing strategy rather than “cut his losses”? We call him a bad businessman.

But in America, when we get embroiled in some ill-conceived, ill-executed, losing war –like Vietnam a generation ago, and like Iraq today– it’s supposed some sign of weakness, rather than wisdom, to read the handwriting on the wall and act accordingly. Why is that?

Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.

It is supposedly “defeatist” to admit when something has failed. It is condemned as a sign of a lack of manhood to confront reality and act accordingly.

If either Vietnam or Iraq was, to the United States, a matter of national survival, “never give up” might make a kind of sense. But what sense can it make when, as was the case in Vietnam and is again the case in Iraq, the arenas of America’s ill-starred military ventures are just small parts of a global chessboard in which a whole variety of interests are at stake? Just as the poker player with a bad hand saves his chips for the hands to come, and the Go player who has been outflanked on one part of the board will re-direct his attack to another part, so also a prudent nation, with global responsibilities and interests will keep any given arena of action on that board in the proper perspective of the larger picture.

Even if it is granted that such things as “national honor” and “demonstration of will” have come value in the overall currency of a great power’s standing in the world, neither of these can arguably be so weighty as to justify exercises in futility. Can it reasonably be argued that the enemies of the United States will be more respectful and afraid of the United States if, in the name of “national honor,” it persists in its folly, only increasing the eventual cost of failure, rather than demonstrating its ability to adjust to newly-discovered realities and maintain strategic perspective?

With President Bush’s most recent call for yet another blunder, it is imperative that Americans grasp that the “defeatism” that threatens us most is not the kind that recognizes and adapts to the reality of failure when it is already a fait accompli. It is the kind that is at war with reality, that loses perspective, and that insists on magnifying the defeat into a larger one than it needed to be.
More from this author:
The “Prophetic Social Movement”: Then and Now (8804 Hits)
by Andrew Bard Schmookler On Election Night of 2004, as I lay in bed much of the night awake and miserable, I found myself teetering on the...
The Dems’ New Power: Investigative Hearings Done Right (7964 Hits)
by Andrew Bard Schmookler On Election Day, America took a step that history may show to have been absolutely crucial in saving this republic....
Waging Battle, Building Peace: The Paradox Confronting the Democrats (8087 Hits)
by Andrew Bard Schmookler Confronting the Paradox   The goal is no less than to defeat the evil that, in recent years,...
The Dems’ First Step on Iraq: The Kind of Hearings We Need (8465 Hits)
by Andrew Bard Schmookler WHERE CHICKENS COME TO ROOST The Democrats need to achieve two things with respect to the mess in Iraq: 1)...
When Failure is Better than Success: What Americans, and the World, Owe to the Disaster in Iraq (11846 Hits)
by Andrew Bard Schmookler There can be no doubt that the failed American invasion of Iraq has been a terrible thing. Because of...
Related Articles:
Some Things You Need To Know Before The World Ends (20786 Hits)
" Thank you for not putting a bomb in your luggage." "President Bush said the United States is still under the threat of attack ...
The Anti-Empire Report - Some things you need to know before the world ends (15411 Hits)
by William Blum The jingo bells are ringing "Who really poses the greatest danger to world peace: Iraq, North Korea or the United...
When "anti-war" doesn't mean anti-war (9191 Hits)
by Mickey Z.   A casual stroll through most major U.S. cities would provide ample opportunity to encounter numerous stickers, buttons,...
It's Election Eve, Do You Know Where Your Country Is? (10871 Hits)
by Frank Lindorff When you go into the voting booth tomorrow, here are a few things you need to think about. First of all, this is not a...
Opportunities lost: When bullies derail dialogue, we all lose (11382 Hits)
by Robert Jensen  In a world of spin, no one expects truth from corporate executives or the politicians who serve them, but many of us...

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger



Top 123